Review of Freemasonry

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Freemasonry, Revolutionary Thought and the Rise of Simon Bolivar
by Bro. Francis J. Bell
Mozart Lodge No. 436, Grand Lodge of F.&A.M. of Pennsylvania, USA.




Freemasonry is a general confusion.  Terms, symbols, signs and suggests that seem to say one thing and really mean another.  We are a system of contradictions and counter statements.  The possibility for the impossible and the implausible is here and in abundance. Even the seasoned Masonic scholar would have a hard time explaining to the novice how an organization defined as follows...


Freemasonry:  A peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.


..could produce a revolutionary document as follows:


15 August 1805


“So then, this is the nation of Romulus and Numa, of the Gracchi and the Horaces, of Augustus and Nero, of Caesar and Brutus, of Tiberius and Trajan? Here every manner of grandeur has had its type, all miseries their cradle.  Octavian masks himself in the cloak of public piety to conceal his untrusting character and his bloody outbursts;  Brutus thrusts his dagger into the heart of his patron so as to replace Caesar’s tyranny with his own;  Antony renounces his claim to glory to set sail on the galleys of a whore; with no projects of reform, Sulla beheads his fellow countrymen and Tiberius, dark as night and depraved as crime itself, divides his time between lust and slaughter.  For every Cinncinatus there were a hundred Caracallas, a hundred Caligulas for every Trajan, a hundred Claudises for every Vespasian.  This nation has examples of everything:  severity for former times, austerity for republics, depravity for emperors, catacombs for Christians, courage for conquering the entire world, ambition for turning every nation on earth into a fertile field for tribute; women capable of driving the sacrilegious wheels of their carriages over the decapitated bodies of their parents; orators, like Cicero capable of stirring crowds to action; poets, like Virigil, for seducing with their song; satirists, like Juvenal and Lucretius; weak minded philosophers, like Seneca; complete citizens, like Cato.  This nation has examples for everything, except for the cause of humanity:  corrupt Messalinas, gutless Agrippas, great historians, distinguished naturalists, heroic warriors, rapacious consuls, unrestrained sybarites, golden virtues, and foul crimes;  but for the emancipation of the spirit, the elimination of cares, the exaltation of man, and the final perfectibility of reason, little or nothing.  The civilization blowing in from the East has shown all its faces here, all its parts.  But resolution of the great problem of man set free seems to have been something inconceivable, a mystery that would only be made clear in the New World.


I swear before you, I swear by the God of my fathers, I swear on their graves, I swear on my Country that I will not rest body or soul until I have broken the chains binding us to the will of Spanish might!

                                                            (Simon Bolivar,  Oath Taken in Rome)  ( 1 )



This oath, taken by a young wealthy Criollo man from Venezuela, newly raised in a Masonic lodge in Cadiz, Spain would seem to be contrary to an organization that , as quoted in Anderson’s Constitutions (1723) “..a Mason is a peaceable subject to the Civil powers, wherever he resides and works, and is never to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against  the peace and welfare of the Nation”


Or is it?


In this paper, I would like to explore some of the ideas and historical factors that make this call for revolution against “unjust governments” not the aberration of Freemasonry, in the time period, but the norm. While the emphasis will be on the steps taken towards the rebellion in South America and the importance of Freemasonry in shaping these events, not only by supplying the doctrine of revolution but also the men of action as well as the support network, we must look backwards to go forwards.


The point of this back history is not to present a defacto statement that certain organizations or events have direct ties to Freemasonry (as we know it today) but that they were indeed catalysts for change as well as fertile ground for the imaginations of future generations.


Popular knowledge and given preconceptions at the time of these events had incredible effect on how future masons would view their organization, as well as what they thought should be done in their own time.  It has been noted that although the Freemasons were not the direct reason for the Enlightenment in Europe (and along with it the American, French and South American Revolutions), it would be a hard fought argument to deny the individual members their place in that history.  Freemasonry, by it’s being in existence, allowed for both the nurturing of these revolutionary ideas as well as supplying an outlet for them.





As anyone researching the formative ideas of Freemasonry must, we must first address the various “speculative” stories associated with Freemasonry’s beginnings. (NOTE:  please view the attached timeline for accurate dates and capsule summaries)


There has been, from the beginnings of the organization, two fields of thought.  These are that [i]. everything written about Freemasonry is to be taken at it’s literal face value. the world of Freemasonry did not exist until the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge in England 1717.


While this seems a simplistic summarizing of the wide world of Masonic studies, I feel that there is enough work extant to make this statement.


This problem has a unique parallel in Biblical research and belief and the flaws there are also of the same type.  The real importance of understanding these two dominant schools, and the former one most particularly is that it has the most impact on the development of the “Enlightened” members of the craft in this early time period.


*Famous Fraters from the Bible.  It has been noted in some early publications that Noah, Adam, Solomon and Moses were some of the first Freemasons.  While the building of the Temple at Jerusalem is a key part of the Master Mason degree [ii] the other additions from the biblical sources were indeed much admired.  Noah and his story even appearing later in a concordant degree [iii] *Comacine Masters and the Collegia.  For a secret organization built upon the symbolism of the building trade, there was need of a cornerstone group on which to anchor the derived “prestige” for  a man of higher rank to want to affiliate.  The Comacine and the Collegia were just such a group.  Men that were instructed in long lost building techniques, an almost monastic order that required strict life sacrifices and oaths of fealty to allow it’s knowledge to be taught and learned.


These were engineers, architects and mathematicians, not some lowly day laborer.  Favorites of royalty and sought after the world over.  The mysteries of the building of the Gothic cathedrals, Roman aqueducts and Egyptian pyramids fell to them.  Euclid, Pythagorus and Archimedes were their scions and brothers.


The pursuit of science and mathematics were their goals and any like minded candidate was invited to follow their path.


This particular view of the Collegia as forerunner to our current Freemasonry is best represented in Joseph Fort Newton’s Book “The Builders”.  (It is important to note that this book is one of the most successfully published Masonic books in the United States and was commissioned by the Grand Lodge of Iowa.) *The Knights Templar.  The life and death of this famous order has become inextricably bound to the history of Freemasonry.  So much so that there is even a concordant body which takes it’s name as well as another that incorporates these “Chivalric Orders” into their degree system.  The interest in this supposed “heretical” group of knights goes back quite sometime and with the new interest in the cross organizational ties (see: Robinson’s Born in Blood as well as the popular Da Vinci Code book and movie), there should be no shortage of interest for a long time to come.


A common thread in the story being that the Templars were not actually heretics, but the keepers of some type of divine secret (some times the Ark of the Covenant or the the Holy Grail or even the Shroud of Turin) another interesting possibility is that since the Knights had their own insulated clergy as well as access to knowledge from the scholastic east (including hard to get Greek and Latin documents), that they were practicing a less than “catholic”  form of Christianity.  If there was such a forward thinking, autonomous and wealthy organization operating outside of standard parochial authority, it would only be a matter of time before it was suppressed.  And it surely was.


The grist for the writers, of course, is the inability of the Templar’s persecutors to seize either the majority of their treasure, their merchant fleet or their clergy.  These have lived on in man’s imagination to this day and most assuredly were on the minds of some of our early members as well.


* The Invisible College of the Rose Cross Fraternity (Rosicrucians)


In 1615 and again in 1616 the appearance of manifestos (Fama Fraternitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis) throughout Europe cause a ground swell of interest in this “Invisible” College.  An organization that promotes the values of truth, education and the betterment of man all tied to a better understanding of the relationship between man and his God, the Rosicrucians are alternately the utopian view for a downtrodden society or a bunch of vicious anarchists by a wary church and various monarchies.  (NOTE:  For an outstanding book dealing with this particular group their effects on the political landscape of Europe, read The Rosicrucian Enlightenment  by C.E. Yates.)


Once again the organization professes the betterment of man and the promotion of useful knowledge while hoping to make the ruling class more enlightened.





In it’s embryonic state, Enlightened thought, or what would some day by that name was subject to great adversity.


Man’s quest for rational, reasoned thought was, at that time, highly censored both by the competing monarchies of Europe and the Roman Catholic Church.  In a time period where an unfavorable review of your work could often times mean torture or death, it fell to the scholar to try and be most circumspect in his stated and published beliefs.


For the most part we have isolated scholars operating on their own and publishing (when physically and/or financially possible) their own interpretations and discoveries.  The individual level of scholarship was very high and most of these learned gentlemen had an aptitude in Latin, Greek and sometimes Hebrew.  The studies of some (ex. Doctor John Dee) in the field of mathematics and science were truly ground breaking work.  Although their other fields of interest (ex.  Dr. Dee’s conversation s with spirits and angels) had occasion to diminish history’s view of their accomplishments.


The majority of learning was being culled from sources in antiquity.  The “classical” education, learning of the Greek and Latin classic works, can be seen to evolve from these solitary scholars.


However, while the classics were to be admired and studied closely, there was also a very high level of devout spirituality and Biblical study running through this movement.


This period also is marked by the continued discovery of new lands, the accurate charting of existing ones and the formation of centralized institutes of higher learning.  All fired by the invention of the printing press and later by movable type, this world of rational and speculative thought was heading towards the greatest period of expression that the western world had ever seen.


It should come as no surprise to any, making even a cursory reading of this period, that this would be the time when societies, secret or otherwise, would spring up.  Like minded men would feel the need to share information and thoughts and to find new sources for ideas and research.  It would be networking and resource pooling with some social activities all rolled into one.  The knowledge that some of these ideas and activities could put a life into mortal peril would be a factor in the instituting of some type of entrance pledge, as well as the fact that a ritual of some solemnity would help to place the proper “tone” on any of these events.  Thus these cells would form in a regional way with the occasional traveling member possibly meeting with other like minded men in other parts of the country or world.  A series of lines of communication could have been formed and the transfer of knowledge expanded.


In this way, these early groups would be looking for a system of communication, recognition and support that would allow their members to greatly simplify their transfers of thought and information to those similarly inclined over greater distances and with the level of secrecy that they required.





“The nature of everything is best considered in the seed” (Francis Bacon)


While these men of the enlightenment taking these giant steps into a new world awareness, they were not only challenging their own minds and that of their fellow scholars, there were others being challenged as well.


Upheavals in religious views, national direction as well as class structure were all being felt, and in some ways aided, by these men. As the perception of man’s place in society changed, so too did the dictates of revolution.  An example of the changing place of the individual in revolutionary society can be seen in “The Chronology of Events” (see appendix)


We notice that the classical idea of Plato’s “Philosopher King” [iv] is slowly being replaced by either the idea of constitutional monarchies or by the removal of monarchy all together.  I feel that this evolution became valid as a response to the disillusionment caused by the “failure” of the Rosicrucian movement and the defeat of Frederick V of Bohemia.  While the rule of James I of England could be seen as a high point in the advance of the enlightened monarch, the problem facing the public was the ability to “enlighten” each successive monarch.  As a monarch was still practicing near absolute rule in most places outside of England, the strain on this hypothetical “Philosopher King” appearing in every generation would be almost impossible to bear. [v]


The idea then could be turned to the education of the individual.  By education of a larger group of the population, there could be an almost built in fail-safe that even if the monarch or government were to tend toward despotism, there should be enough well educated people, in all walks of life, that would be able to sound the warning call the citizenry.  To the task of organizing this revolutionary view of society, on man had already dedicated himself.





The life and work of Francis Bacon is so extensive that it cannot be covered while trying to write on any other topic.  his work would eclipse the paper and since he is one of the most well known of the Enlightenment figures, we can dispense with all but the cursory information. As he applies to this work, he will be known for just a few of his illustrious accomplishments.


Bacon’s philosophy that to be more like God, one must learn all that is available in the natural world.  The study of the sciences and arts are an almost religious vocation and such study should be approached with reverence “In God all knowledge is original” [vi] With this philosophy in mind, he constructed the master work “The Advancement of Learning”. 


In it, he tells us how to set up the systems by which people are to be educated, what the fields of the sciences and arts should look like and why it is important to have an educated population.  While this may not seem as vital today, it was one of the most serious works of the time period and presented to the King with some trepidation as the ideas were not at all widely held.  It was a highly risky situation that Bacon would publish this in his own name due to the fact that “heresy” and “inquisition” could be considered to be around every corner and the nobility view of peasants and serfs were not one to breed equality in the moment.


It did succeed in both interesting the crown and also in galvanizing other intellectuals into the feeling that there was, indeed, a chance for positive change in their world.  For this reason, it has been assumed by many that bacon had no small influence on the Rosicrucian doctrines that surfaced a mere eight years after his work.  Nor do they discount that he would have been a supporter, albeit a silent one, for this newly declared “Invisible College”.


It is common knowledge that he was the founder of “The Knights of the Helmet”, a group sometimes attributed as the prototype for modern freemasonry, but the organization continues to gather interest from the scholarly and noble community.  (For a detailed description of this organization see Tudhope’s , Bacon Masonry)  The influence of this group on the growing theater movement , and it’s move from sanitized religious plays on feast days to a most confrontational and provocative art form, can be credited with the dissemination of enlightenment ideas to a much larger segment of the population as the pre required ability to read and write were then removed.  Also, on it’s secondary levels, information was able to be broadcast to those of a more knowledgeable strain by simply sitting in a theater versus some hidden room.  This, too is a holdover from the days of the Rosicrucians and other hermetic organizations.





galleryinvisiblecollege.jpg - 45182 Bytes On the right is a copy of a plate titled “The Invisible College of the Brothers of the Rosy Cross” attributed to a Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens circa 1618.  (The following interpretations are casual and used for explanatory purposes)


The initial form of communication is through the drawing; a tower on wheels with a winged tower.  This representing the mobility of this order which claims no members and all members. A trumpet; to proclaim it’s arrival or coming or is it to broadcast the manifesto of the organization? The guardians in the turrets; three men armed with feathers, is knowledge their weapon? or is it the writing of correspondence and transmission of knowledge, possibly represented by the winged letters coming and going? their defense? shields (note the addition of hebrew to the shields, is this an additional layer of information or a blind?) There are quite a number of pictorial images and they all have a very high multiplier of possible meanings.


We also have the layers of Latin and Hebrew words, coupled with (I am unable to verify at this point) some Greek and Italian as well as compound words which could stand for short quotes of sayings. 


Additionally we have pictures, phrases, words and geometry working together to make a point.  Note the man at the right foreground; he is a traveler or pilgrim?(bag, hat and stick on the ground) yet he kneels clasping the anchor (hope?) and stares p to heaven (oriens= latin: rising sun, east morning) the phrase “ignorantium meam agnosco” = latin: to know again, the line drawn representing the hypotenuse of a 90 degree triangle. 


These can all be seen as working in conjunction so that only the trained eye or one looking for specific significance will be able to ascertain the message. (Example: taking the phrase from the tower’s front facing side “Jesus Nobis Omnb” if adding the letters to make it “Jesus Nobis Omnibus”  we do not find a direct Latin translation.  However, if we are to cross reference these three words, they appear in one specific part of the new testament...


“There is no condemnation to them that, being justified by Christ, walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.  Their strong hope and love of God.”

(Romans Chapter 8) [vii]


This would make for a fitting code for any group professing a yearning for enlightenment. (or is that what it is supposed to mean?)


This drawing is a learning tool just as much as it is a message.  One can even say that this message is knowledge and that this drawing and the many like it were meant to instruct, through a combination of symbols and dialogue, our intellectual forefathers.





I would feel it a waste, as a novice to Masonic study, I would not be able to give any in-depth background history on our organization at this time.  However, I will state a couple of points to illustrate the lines of transference from the earlier Rosicrucian, hermetic, pre/early Enlightenment Scholars to the organization that we are all a part of.


Firstly we do know for a fact that Elias Ashmole, through his own writings, was made a “speculative” mason in England in the year 1646. The Royal Society was founded in 1660 and was a hotbed of Masonic activity and finally in 1717 the controversial “Premier Grand Lodge of England” was formed.


We must thank Brother Ashmole for not following Masonic protocol of the day and adding this important bit of history to his diaries as it allows us to show the short span of time from the Rosicrucian Manifestos (1615 and 1616) to the times of organized “speculative” masonry.  It is not the premise to say that the one organization blended itself into the other in this short span of time, but rather the influences of the Rosicrucians (and by inference of Bacon’s Knights of the Helmet” as they would have been of influence to the former) but that the founders of the Freemasons identified heavily with the principles of the Rose Cross Brothers.





bamberg01.jpg - 43410 Bytes On the right is the copy of the “Bamberg Plate” found in a Masonic lodge in Bamberg Germany, “the plate is actually produced in England in 1789 by P.Lambert, R.A.” [viii]


The fact that there are a good number of similar symbols used as well as the implementation of “cipher pictures” (see above example of Invisible College”)  would lead some to conclude that the pursuits and ideas of those earlier “secret” societies were alive and well in this new organization of freemasonry.  That fact that the origins of Regular Freemasonry are firmly rooted in England and that, as we see, by 1789 versions of English Masonic drawings are being made with French inscriptions (and not just regular craft lodges but royal arch chapters as indicated).  Would this be due to the fact that French was considered a more civilized language (it had been spoken in English royal courts for many years) or do to the proliferation of Masonic lodges onto the continent? 


I would defend this point by having those interested take the “Invisible College” and “Bamberg” drawings and cross referencing the images that are used in them with the images available in either Claudy’s “Introduction to Freemasonry”, Carpenter’s “Exemplar” or Robert's “The Craft and It’s Symbols” without giving much away, I feel that you will see that the symbolism for a large number of these “points of virtue” will cross over from one system to the next.


What this can be seen to illustrate is that there is a shared core belief system and that this would allow the more “serious” or studious of the Masonic brothers to feel a strong sense of connection to these older mystery organizations.  This is how myth and folklore work to tie us to these groups.


No one ever says that the Freemasons are direct descendants of the Rosicrucians or the Comancines or the Knights Templar.  Or do they? Of course they do!  There may be an even balance of written work by Masons and Anti-masons alike that does just that. Does this make it true?


No and Yes.


No, as the more empirical of our research brethren and non allied scholars will tell you.  There is no Rosetta Stone here.  No last will and testament, death bed confession no bill of sale or transfer of corporate assets.  The temples were not merely redecorated and the members informed in writing that they must now call themselves Freemasons.  Largely because there are so many conceptions of what a Freemason is, was or should be.





In some corners of the world, they can tell you in a verse what makes a man a freemason.  In others it may be a sign or token.


“I believe myself to be a Freemason- not so much for the reason that I was initiated by older masons in a warranted Lodge, but because I perceive what Freemasonry is and why it is, when and where it came into existence, and by what means it is advanced or retarded..” (The first conversation, Ernst und Falk,  Lessing 1778) [ix]


...or as stated in Lessing’s “Masonic Dialogues” the perception of what Freemasonry is.


Freemasonry has survived through these centuries of strife and persecution, not due to it’s novel or faddish approach to the average man, but to it’s appeal to the very core of a man’s understanding of what is right and good in himself and society.  It allows those wishing to better themselves an outlet to sympathetic ears and a resource of support for both material as well as spiritual research.


Once again I would suggest consulting the various extant books discussing ritual and symbolism and point out that the core beliefs of freemasonry are universal.  The changes are in the way in which the beliefs and instructions are bestowed on the individual.  This can be easily attributed to the distances that the word had to travel and the time periods in which it happened.  None of it however, would have been possible without the selfless dedication of the early brothers, “evangelists” you can almost say, who dedicated their life's to the expansion and expression of Freemasonry.





While we can obtain a precise figure for extant lodges contemporary to the formation of the “Premier Grand Lodge of England” in 1717 a great bit of the credit for the expansion of Freemasonry into other parts of the Empire and to the continent as well  (I include the odd non warrant carrying mason who would have set up informal work in France, Germany, Spain, etc.) would go to one man, Thomas Dunkerley.  The particulars of Dunkerley’s illustrious Masonic career and his successful tenure as Provincial Grand Master are ably illustrated in Chudley’s Book “Thomas Dunkerly: A Remarkable Freemason” Of special importance should be the fact that Dunkerely was able to receive warrants to hold lodge and make masons on various ships of Her Majesty’s fleet would prove significant, not only to the spread of Freemasonry, but the speed with which Masonic correspondence could be transmitted and received.


More will be made of this important man and his benefit to Freemasonry and the revolutionary movement later.





While the spreading of the “word” of Freemasonry was well underway, there was a growing concern as to the ability of the “regular” (those coming from the style of work as exemplified by the Premier Grand Lodge of England and any “irregular” Lodge to exist in any type of brotherly status.


Some would feel that this mindset had more to do with tone group’s need to be superior to another or that there was a purely monetary motivation for it. (Lodges then as now had to pay for warrants, had dues and their members were expected to pay for their initiation into and continued membership in Freemasonry.)  While this may have become a side effect of the process, it would seem to even the casual observer that if the “secrets” of Freemasonry were of such importance then there was a real need for all candidates to receive the same amount of instruction and information.


We can turn once again to our proffered Claudy and Roberts’ texts and realize that there are differences in regional and period descriptions of what goes into the work leading up to the imparting of Masonic knowledge, there is an exactitude in the underlying thoughts and ideas of what it is the candidate is to be getting from the work.


For an organization to recognize members as they travel about a country or region of the world, it would be necessary to have uniform signs and modes of recognition.  The “goals” of the organization, at least at a functional level would be made available, equally to all members.  This would allow for greater ease of introduction as well as means of verification of membership.


It was to this process that William Preston was to devote a great portion of his life.  Preston gave us the first “Illustrations” in 1772 and was an outspoken champion of uniformity and perfection of degree work. The interesting point in his story is that we can see the frailty in the Masonic organization at that time.


As Lessing would have all men who felt in tune to the teachings of Masonic “light” consider themselves masons and allow for a great liberalism in thought and work (much in the same vein as the Rosicrucians) the Premier Grand Lodge can be likened to custodians of knowledge.  They do not move the message forward but seek to preserve it and allow others to take Freemasonry’s teachings to their own ends.  This “doctrine without dogma” is what allows the Freemasons to delve not only into the wide universe of science and arts, but for some to feel totally comfortable in their parts in the revolutions of the time.


We can see from Dyer’s “William Preston”,(Chapter 4)[x]  that at the time period that Preston has formed his alternate degree system, the Order of Harodim, it is the thought behind the degrees and not the physical organization that appeals to candidates.  We see this later as other “irregular lodges” form and fold throughout Europe and the Americas.  It is this English tenacity to regulate the work of the lodges (by this meaning the degrees and their teachings) that has had it’s longest reaching effect on allowing the work of such luminaries as Preston to survive these last three centuries.





This time of Enlightenment was revolution on a grand scale.  When I say revolution, I am referring to the totally new influx of ideas, influences and morality that was brought into being at this time.  All fields and traditional roles were being challenged and with the advent of additional scientific discovery and the rise of the new philosophers (philosophes to the French) organized religion i.e. the Roman Catholic Church and organized government i.e. the monarchies of Europe, including to a degree England was in for one series of confrontations after the other.  While some were met with outright censorship, inquisition or death, there are instances where the old ideal of an “Enlightened Despot” did show through, but these were few and far between.  The ideas were too fresh and the fear of their implementation too real for those that would later be seen as the oppressors, rather than the leaders of countries.


We know that earlier, the ideal for a utopian society rested with the idea that their would be a  Platonic “Philosopher King” or “enlightened despot” through which the governing and well being of the people would be of paramount importance.


The Peasant Revolt in England (1381) and the destruction of Frederick V of Bohemia (1619-20) were two early examples of an ideologically backed revolt that was suppressed, either by the shortsightedness of it’s leaders in relying on a central leader (the former) or through an overly idealistic/simplistic few of what the consequences of the action would be (the later).  Since that time, revolutionary thought had had the luxury of winding it’s way into the structure of an international organization.  An organization that had the ability to communicate over long distances, to move ideas and men into strange location s and be able to have them accepted into communities and (as the assimilation of more nobles and bourgeoisie into the fold) the ability to make contact with some of the most influential people in those countries.


The subsequent upheavals in the American colonies, France and, to the point of this paper, the colonies of the Kingdom of Spain were greatly aided by the ability of some of these men to take advantage of the factors mentioned above.


This takes us back to the earlier offered question as to whether or not the Freemasons descend from earlier “secret” societies and whether or not just by saying it’s true makes it true.


The real answer is yes.  That is the beauty of Freemasonry.


Yes we are anything anyone says about us and for one reason.  The elasticity of Freemasonry allows for it.  Free thought allows for any thought to come about.  The study of the liberal arts and sciences with no claim at censorship allows for unrestricted view of man and his place in the earth and the universe.


This is what the brother of Freemasonry had laid open to them and the ones that thought that their understanding of Freemasonry’s message led to them challenging the most formidable empires known to them, in the name of liberty and right, and wrenching oppressed people from their enslavers, then by all means that is what it means.


This is not an uncommon sentiment for the time period and one goes back to Lessing (one of the most influential of contemporary German freemasons) to a line in his “Dialogues”

“he is one of them that fights in Europe for the Americas.” (Fifth Conversation) [xi]


The endnote is explained that there were indeed a good number of sympathizers for the American cause in the Revolution.  It is also seen that a number of Continental Masons took this war as a sign of an attempt to establish government  under Masonic principles, however, Lessing would conclude that the ideals of Freemasonry cannot be reached through violence.  “What costs blood is surely not worth blood” [xii]


The involvement of the Masonic Brethren in the American Revolution is well documented and well known to those of us in the United States. 


What was also important is that there were so many men thinking along the same lines, not necessarily all freemasons, but with the same ideas of what Liberty should be [xiii]


This has led to the false attributing of Masonic status to those men who were just following their deep held religious and political convictions.  Patriots and heroes none the less, but (and this goes back to the spirit of the biblical heroes as mentioned earlier) they became identified with the American Masonic movement simply because the movement had taken on the character of the revolution.  For example, the difference between Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine, both are deists by self definition, yet Franklin is a Grand master of Masons in Pennsylvania and Paine is not.  A contributing factor could have been that Paine, unlike Franklin, did not hold the Bible in any esteem other than as a literary work. (See the Rights of Man, a pamphlet supporting the French Revolution, 1791) Was he less of patriot for that? This fact may or may not have always been present but the point that his world view was in general tuned to the contemporary Masonic viewpoint.  He was a “Mason of Convenience” likewise Thomas Jefferson and any number of other men of the time.  Freemasonry takes these examples and puts them forth for the brother as symbols of who we should be like.  They need not all be “certified members” they need just live up to the ideals of the Masonic teachings. While the Revolution in France would take a more virulent turn and take the ideas of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality to dark and dangerous new places.  Freemasons were there again.  Not as representatives of some global organizations but defined as individuals for either praise or censure.


Post revolutionary France will have it’s influence on the events to unfold in South America but first we must divine how these pieces all lock together.



JEWELS IN THE CROWN:  Spanish South America


The story of the successful revolution in South America is one of the least predicted of events in that contemporary time. Spanish attitude towards it’s “possessions” in the South Hemisphere was fairly aggressive.  The natural resources of the continent were to be stripped from the land and sent to Spain to line the coffers of the King. 


The people were one of three groups; slaves, indians and whites.  The overseers of the native government were sent in from Spain.  Almost all of the facets of government and trade were done by Spanish born natives, all books and teaching aids were shipped in from Spain.  No publishing houses or major institutes of learning were allowed on the continent.  Even the clergy was restricted in it’s instruction of native acolytes. [xiv]


A form of universal ignorance was encouraged and indulged in.  The wealthier of the Criollo families would send their children to school in Spain and while there, they would possibly get the chance to meet the King and royal court , and possibly get the chance to tour some of the continent; Rome, French, etc.)


One of the first things that these children of the wealthy and “ruling” class of South America would notice on disembarking was the strict race consciousness that they would encounter.  You must remember that South America’s social status was based on race and racial purity [xv] and therefore anyone other than a pure “peninsulares”, immigrants from Spain or the Canary Islands, was looked down upon.


This conscious feeling, and it was no misperception, that those coming from the Southern Hemisphere, even those from the most respected of Criollo families was inferior and not quite “Spanish” would make a lasting impression on the future revolutionaries and be yet another in a series of points for their future actions.





While these new colonial visitors to Spain may not have received the type of reception that they expected, there were a number of people that were most happy to make their acquaintance.  A small number of salons existed in Spain at this time.  The an obvious effect of the Inquisition was that the amount of these informal intellectual meeting spots was very limited in contrast to France or even England.  The king and the church fathers still exerted a great deal of censorship on the intellectual advancement of Spain.  However, there was a semisecret organization meeting in Spain at the time that would have a great impact on these new arrivals from the southern hemisphere.


Mackey attributes the formation of Freemasonry in Spain, 1728, to expatriate  English men and other interested local Spaniards [xvi] it had a considerable enough following to found the Scottish Rite there in 1809 [xvii]When following our timeline, this would show that any like minded individual traveling in Spain at the time would have encountered a fairly good sized and “regular” series of lodges operating under the constitution , or guidance thereof, of England.


Knowing as we do that a large portion Freemasons of this time were culled from either the minor nobility, upper classes, skilled trades and military, these “Americans” (as they were so called through out the revolution) would be entering into a most influential network of not only intellectual and social but business and political contacts.


To propose that these contemporary lodges did nothing but foment rebellions would be to contradict the premise of this work.  What we can see is the offering of this vast network, not by some grand lodge dictate, but by the chanced to associate with this, possibly, unattainable source of contacts.  Remember as we must that almost all business was done through “letters of introduction” therefore, someone had to write these letters for a person to be invited to meet with a person either unknown or normally unattainable to them. 


Class consciousness is never to be understated in this time period and even the most egalitarian Duke would have pause to invite a stranger of lower distinction into his home or office.  Secondly, this offered an opportunity to travel into foreign countries and be met by sympathetic people and in the case of the revolutionaries, sympathetic people that either had financial backing or governmental contacts.


masonship.jpg - 27688 Bytes There is a period painting used as illustration in Mark A. Tabbert’s book, showing the bark “Lincoln” entering port and flying a Masonic flag (pg 165), the rationale is that someone aboard is entering port and is interested in having a Masonic meeting.   This sentiment is echoed in Kipling’s “Captain’s Courageous” when one of the crew of Troop’s ship goes over to a French vessel for a Masonic meeting. 


The significance of this painting is two fold; 1.) The fact is that this type of event was an ordinary event in the ports.  Masons from all points of the compass could meet with their brothers when in port and exchange information and contacts.  The seaborne routes of communication were much quicker at that time than the regular post (if in existence in your particular community) this allowed for 2.) The ability for Masonic thought and communication to travel throughout this network of ports and seamen and get to it’s desired destination faster and more accurately than the usual forms of communication available.  This can be especially important when the message is timely or if a certain person or document is to be in a certain locale with all possible speed. 


Not that the non political hand of universal Freemasonry was the only thing offered to the revolutionaries, the British and their agents had another motive for wanting South America “free” from the King of Spain. This involved a British operation called the Maitland Plan.  This plan under it’s original title the Vansittart plan, after it’s author


Nicholas Vansittart called for the British to invade South America and do away with Spanish rule. [xviii]The fact that the Spanish lodges would allow British agents to recruit likely revolutionaries (by social acquaintance) to spearhead the revolt was an added advantage of Masonic membership.


It must be noted, however, that this mercenary attitude was the exception and not the rule and we see a number of British officers and politicians assist the revolutionary movement long after the government decides to stop supporting the Maitland plan. (Note: I would suggest anyone interested in further reading on this matter consult Harvey’s “Liberators” for an outstanding description of the topic.)





While we have noted the influence of the Spanish lodges on the embryonic South American revolutionary movement, it is most necessary to note the influence of one man on the “founders” of liberated South America.


Francisco de Miranda was an adventurer, romantic and child of the enlightenment.  In the course of his travels, he met George Washington, Lafayette, Napolean and Catherine the Great, among others. He served in no fewer than three armies as well as in the U.S. and French revolutions prior to leading a disastrous revolution in Venezuela. Prior to his unfortunate demise, this toast of Europe lived in England and founded “la Lodgia de La Gran Reunion Americana” an irregular lodge that operated out of his residence in London. [xix]


“Members of La Gran Reunion Americana included people like Bernardo O’ Higgins, Simon Bolivar, Jose de San martin, Carlos Maria Alvear, Tomas Guido, and many other South American historical figures.  Mariano Moreno, perhaps the guiding light behind the 25th of May revolution, was on his way to London to join them when he died on the high seas” [xx] This who’s who list of the luminaries in South America’s revolution, were given the opportunity to be among friends, pursue their studies and talk about the philosophy and direction of their upcoming bid for independence.  Gran Reunion offered them a level of secrecy and intimacy that they may be otherwise unable to enjoy singularly and allowed them to form closer ties to one another in both a fraternal and ideological sense.


Miranda the world traveled elder statesman would be nothing short of inspiring to these young men and his influence upon them and their own conceptions of future events would be long lasting.


Unfortunately in his end, he attained an almost Christ like finish as he is arrested and denied by his “apostles” after the failure of the 1810 uprising.  However, he did not die in vain as his students, most particularly Simon Bolivar, were able to learn and benefit from his short and sad rule.


This sad event of the suppression of the Venezuelan uprising does however, leave us with an interesting example of possible “brotherly” aid and one that is worth discussing at some length.





The example of Girard’s involvement with the Venezuelan revolutionaries and the Uprising of 1810 is one that requires additional research and a deal of speculation, however, it is one of the concrete examples of being able to place people and movements together that was available to this study.


Stephen Girard was, in the time period we are discussing, one of the wealthiest merchants in the United States.  His shipping and mercantile interests spanned the globe and he kept up a voluminous worldwide correspondence (see Girard Archives at Girard College) both personal and commercial with some of the most notable figures of the time period.  Not only did he have many influential friend in the United States, but he was on very good terms with both the family of Napoleon Bonaparte [xxi] as well as a number of Napoleon's generals [xxii]


To his Masonic record, “It is now well established fact that Girard was made a Master Mason in the Union Blue Lodge Number 8 of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons in Charleston South Carolina on January 28, 1788” [xxiii] he was never made a member of a lodge in Pennsylvania mostly probably due to a deformity of his eye.  He did however, affiliate with a number of them as witnessed by both the level of participation of subordinate lodges as well as Grand Lodge officers in his funeral and later re-interrment [xxiv]


The relevant passages detailing Girard’s involvement with the South American revolutionaries is from the book “The Life and Times of Stephen Girard” [xxv] and, due to it’s scarcity,  is included in the Appendix of this work (Note: in reference to this document, I will be using the book’s page numbers) .  To our benefit, the book was written as a narrative of Girard’s mercantile history and relates in detail the majority of his business transactions.


To the point, it describes a series of meetings with one “Don Juan Vincent Bolivar” (most probably Simon’s older brother Juan) [xxvi] and Girard for the purpose of purchasing and exporting weapons for the revolution.  There are a number of items that are of interest here.  Firstly, the access that Bolivar was able to get to Girard.  The nature of their initial business is Girard’s straightening out of Bolivar’s existing entanglements in New York and one that was not to be a pleasant one.  Girard attacks the problem immediately and has the items shipped to him (see pages 164-65)  this should seem a bit odd as Girard was not a merchant known for dealing in credit and this operation as well as the advancement of moneys to Bolivar using collateral they may prove to be a loser is not in his nature.


This transaction as well as the advance allow for the purchase of some of Bolivar’s muskets (page 166) as well as their shipment to Girard.  At this point, the transactions and services needed by Bolivar appear to swing outside of the realm of good financial sense and Girard must put a stop to the advances (page 167)  Bolivar is relieved and a new deputation of officials appears and they too petition  the merchant to procure weapons and materials for the war effort.  The purchase is now quite large (page 169) and has drawn the attention of other U.S. merchants.  At this point Girard writes to the president of the United States, James Monroe, and in it he informs Monroe of the situation and it’s potential implication (page 171) Monroe does not reply to Girard and the deal is finished. While on the surface, this would just seem like the record of a failed business transaction, there are a number of factors that should be considered in the analysis. 


An examination of Girard’s business operations would show that this was not a man that would put himself into drawn out (and costly) business ventures.  He dealt mainly in cash and was not know for extending credit, let alone to a total stranger.  Yet, in this instance he not only takes it upon himself to straighten out Bolivar’s existing business dilemma but sounds as if he is a passionate advocate for the man.  He is able to advance him money (even though it is noted that the collateral is not very good) and does what he can to guide the fledgling revolutionary onto the path of success.


That the amount of the second order is much more lucrative should be discounted.  Knowing the amount of time that would lapse between travel from one destination to another, Girard would be leery that this new Venezuela would have any further revenue to spend on weapons or even if that new Venezuela would  exist by the time of the next mail packet.  Girard was known as an “adventure” capitalist and would later make millions in the War of 1812 and the purchasing of the First National Bank.  If he thought that there was money to be made on revolution in South America, he would have engaged them in a very beneficial, to him, contract and pursued acquisitions.


This could be considered if the new government of Venezuela was on a firm footing, with numerous or decisive military victories or with overwhelming support of the people.  It had none of those at the time.


Girard’s own politics are not generally known outside of his philanthropies in Philadelphia his work during the Yellow Fever Epidemic and his purchase of the First National Bank (although this was both a financial as well as political purchase) However, we must view his zeal for personal improvement as well as his large affiliation with Freemasonry as factors in this story.


How Juan Bolivar is able to commission Girard to handle all of this work for him is another point of interest and I am sure that further study will uncover either a letter of introduction or a reference to their introduction from some third party (with a good probability that that person with have a Masonic tie) We know that a good many men that were involved in the American and French Revolutions would have no problem  with helping aid a further swing of the pendulum away from monarchy, in South America.


Once again, there is no smoking gun, no message on letterhead attesting to the fact, just a number of individuals linked by a common thread or interest, this interest leading them to identify with and aid, as to their abilities, one another in a cause.





The ideas being advanced in this paper are rather far afield and encompass a time period spanning centuries and continents.  The distillation of ideas , the congregation of like minded “enlightened” men joined by a common belief. 


A belief that man is good, that man can improve his lot in life and that he has the right to live in a world in which those set up to rule him do so for the good of society, not for the benefits available to themselves.  That knowledge, useful knowledge, is a benefit to mankind and that neither it nor moral truth should be censored under the fist of despotism.


That sometimes what some consider self improvement can be considered revolutionary and what is revolutionary ought to be commonplace.


This type of philosophy had already stretched it’s young wings in the newly formed United States as well as in the new Republic of France.   It now stretched it’s long fingers out to the colonies of Spain and strove to break it free of oppression.


The children of the Inca, brought to Europe had the privilege to sit in the presence of this new philosophy and take in as much light as possible.  They were nurtured by the elder statesman of their cause, Miranda, and when, as most times happens, the man could not live up to the myth, they supplanted him and moved forward in their grand cause.


Are these mythic statements?  A grandiose way of wrapping rebels in the cloak of Mars?


“I am the father of the centuries, the arcanum of fame and secret knowledge.  My mother was Eternity Infinity sets the limits of my empire.  There is no tomb for me, because I am more powerful than Death.  I behold the past, I see the future, and the present passes through my hands”

                                                                        (Simon Bolivar) [xxvii]


These feverish words, written by Bolivar around the time of the liberation of Ecuador would find themselves right at home in the above statements.


While we see that the foundation for a revolution in South America exists back to 1808, the movement needed a particular kind of leader.  A man of character and persistence and most importantly, one that felt a divine force driving him to succeed.  On July 24, 1783, such a man is born in Caracas.



-Entered into the Lodge in Cadiz Spain 1804-1805 
-Raised 1805-1806

Additional Masonic Degrees:

-Mother Scottish Lodge of France of the Philosophical Rite (Irregular) (1805)
This is the one complete description of Bolivar's initiation into a Masonic/quasi masonic organization still survivng.
-Scottish Rite Degrees to 32 in Paris, France (1807)
-Knights Templar in Paris France (1807)

Masonic organizations (credited with founding):

-Proctectora de las Vertudes, Lodge #1 (Venezuela) He is credited with founding and serving as W.M.
-Order and Liberty, Lodge #2 (Peru) Founder

If not for the death of his wife in 1802, we may never have heard of the name Bolivar.  He may have been content to live out his life in his hacienda, attending to whatever diversions a man of his considerable wealth would have found pleasing and never have had a cross word with Spain.


Her death, however, brought about a period of intense despair and self destructive behavior [xxviii] at the end of which, he emerges with the beginnings of the intensity of character that will lead him through major initial defeats through the long and vicious fighting of the war of liberation and into his heyday as “El Libertador”, the Liberator of Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.


He, himself, has had a formidable classical education, comes from a well known and respected Criollo family and has made excellent contacts in both the continent of Europe as well as in the United States.  His writings, especially his perspective of Latin America and it’s place in the world are very insightful.  A number of his warnings about the abuses of government as well as the attitudes of the people are as valid today as they were then. [xxix]


It is of interest that Bolivar takes to Freemasonry after the death of his wife [xxx] and not in the way of a dilettante, but rather as a man eager to understand a strange yet familiar concept [xxxi] It is after his raising that he makes his famous “Oath Taken in Rome” [xxxii] and begins to work on his quest to liberate South America.


Is it just misplaced grief for his wife?  Does the blame for her death fall on the Empire that allowed her to die?  Conditions in Venezuela were harsh even for the wealthy.  Airborne disease, malaria, all things were possible or was it his desire to be apart of the freeing of man. 


The idea that this thing, this revolution was bigger than himself and the others involved, thereby making them somehow part of something for history maybe even a feeling of near immortality (having read his works, this is not a far stretch of the imagination) and being immortal, he would find an end to his mortal suffering.


Whatever the real reason for Bolivar’s dedication to the cause, it was a lifelong one.  The battles he fought and the privations felt by him and his troops sapped his mental and physical abilities and in the end of it all let him the most disillusioned of the patriots.


“You know I have ruled for twenty years, and I have derived from these only a few sure conclusions: (1) America is ungovernable, for us; (2) Those who serve revolution plough the sea. (3) The only thing one can do in America is emigrate; (4) this country will fall inevitably into the hands of the unrestrained multitudes and then into the hands of tyrants so insignificant they will be almost imperceptible, of all colors and races; (5) once we’ve been eaten alive by every crime and extinguished by ferocity, the Europeans won’t even bother to conquer us; (6) if it were possible for any part of the world to revert to primitive chaos, it would be America in her last hour. “


                                                                                    (Simon Bolivar) [xxxiii]


There are a multitude of reasons for Bolivar’s tragic end as well as his epic disillusionment with the cause of the revolution.  Among them would have been the realization that he was watching his life’s dream die, swallowed up by the grabbing hands of an ill used, undereducated and at times morally bankrupt populace.


This could not possibly have been the new Athens or Atlantis that he had dreamed of and talked about while in Europe.  Those enlightened gentlemen that he knew were either scattered, killed or turned into some unrecognizable form of themselves.  Bolivar’s  rule as enlightened despot was received much in the same way that Joseph II’s was in Austria.  It was too much light and too fast. 


His was the last war of pure idealism and one that he did not win. For all his skill and determination, for all his prowess on the battlefield and in matters of state, the masses spoke and he was made to step down. Both the Enlightenment and Freemasonry let him down.


To kill a man’s beliefs is far worse than the killing of the man himself.





In writing this paper, I have tried to expound upon contemporary themes and beliefs of the time and how through a synchronicity of events they turned into something much larger than their respective parts.  The conception that I hold from Freemasonry of that time, and this is as follows.


The rules given to a man when he advances through the degrees are not rules as such but guidelines.  The secrets of Freemasonry are just that. Secret.  They are known only to the brother who dedicates himself to the study and exemplification of those principles.


The study of all things in this natural world given their inspiration by a belief in a Supreme God, the G.A.O.T.U. or by whatever name we use.  This study is what makes us Masons, not some pin or dues card.  The knowledge that we are part of a grand scheme of things in a universe in which we are to play some part is a comforting position.  It should also be one of challenge and a source of constant interest.


Most importantly, we need not be alone in our travels as through our brotherhood we may find some other dedicated men who feel the same way that we do.  Study and self improvement do at times need a foil and as long as that is what Freemasonry is about then it will continue to exist.


We can see that many of our brothers gave more than their share to forward a way of life for the rest of us.  It is our privilege to know them and to call them brother much as it was for those men of centuries past.


It is the true believers; those that take the clues and hints from the ritual and make it a part of them, that Freemasonry most prizes, as they have not cut themselves off from the light but constantly strive for perfection.


The working of a rough stone by the cutter is an apt description.



[i] Bolivar, Simon  "Oath Taken in Rome"  (8/15/1805)

[ii] References to which are available in a number of sources, for this work, either the Claudy or Roberts books can be utilitzed (see bibliography)

[iii] The degree of Royal Ark Mariner deals with a Mosaic story. See Mackey's "Encyclopedia" vol 2. pg 494 and vol 2. p 646 (see bibliography)

[iv] Plato's Republic.  A blueprint for an idealised government.  The ruler being the "Philosopher King"  this "Enligthened Despot" ruling over the people for their own best interest and with an eye toward virtue and knowledge.

[v] Or the strain on the people.  See "The Story of Civilization; Rosseau and the Revolution" Chptr 13, particularly section 7

[vi] One of bacon's many quotes.  See "The Essays of Francis Bacon" or for an expanded list of Bacon's quotes and achievements.

[vii] excerpt from the "Good News" Bible.

[viii] for detailed explanation of some of the signs and symbols, go to the Levity website (see bibliography)  That Royal Arch information was                 transferred from England to France to Germany shows the wide spread communications network of the organization as well as the cohesiveness between different foreign jurisdictions.

[ix] Excerpt from Ernst un Falk "First Conversation"(see bibliography)

[x] Chapter 4, "The Order of Harodim" pg. 87

[xi] Lessing's  "Masonic Dialogues"   (see bibliography)

[xii] Lessing's "Masonic Dialogues" Fifth Conversation

[xiii] For a detailed observation on the Masonic view of Liberty, view  Brother Alex Davidson's Article of the same name (see bibliography) Also note  Miller's "Origins of the American Revolution" (page 170) for the emphasis on early Mason's embracing of the philosophy of John Locke on their view of government. (see bibliography)

[xiv] Dana, Gardner, Munro, Chapter 3 (see bibliography)

[xv] ibid  Chapter 4

[xvi] Mackey's "Encyclopedia"  Vol 2. pg 703

[xvii] ibid

[xviii] Fuster's "Maitland/Vasinttart Plan" (see bibliography)

[xix] Harvey's "Liberators" pg 35 (see bibliography)

[xx] Fuster "Maitland/Vasinttart Plan"

[xxi] Cheeseman "Stephen Girard: Founder" pp 33-35 (see bibliography)

[xxii] ibid    pg 34

[xxiii] ibid    pg 161

[xxiv] ibid    pp 167-69

[xxv] McMaster, "The Life and Times of Stephen Girard"   pp 162-171 (see bibliography)

[xxvi] Simon Bolivar was not an only child. He had an older brother Juan Vincent Bolivar who would have been at the right age to have met with Girard.  Simon was probably in London meeting with Miranda at the time.  Although there is specualtion that he visited Philadelphia on his way home from Europe. What may have transpired at that time is subject to speculation.

[xxvii] Bolivar, Simon "My Delirium on Chimborazo" pg 135  (see bibliography)  This was not Bolivar's only prophetic vision, he liken himself to the great Inca as well.  Rather for popular support or out of belief is unknown

[xxviii] Harvey "Liberators" pp 69-72

[xxix] Bolivar "The Collected Writings, of"

[xxx] See timeline.  Bolivar Raised in Cadiz Lodge

[xxxi] See Bolivar's Masonic History

[xxxii] Bolivar, Simon "The Collected Writings of"

[xxxiii] Bolivar, Simon "Letter to General Juan Flores" from "The Collected Writings"


Order of Poor Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Templar) is suppressed by the combined forces of Philip, King of France and Pope Clement V of the Roman Catholic Church.

Peasant's Revolt in Britain. Ostensibly the revolt centers around certain government officials and practices. The King at the time is not a target as the mob stresses loyalty to the King but not the government. Leaders include a number of mid level, reform minded clerics and one "Wat Tyler" de facto leader of the rebellion.

King James 1 of England authorizes the first English translation of the Bible, making the "Word of God" available to those not fluent in Latin.

Francis Bacon writes, "The Advancement of Learning" with a dedication to King James 1. The books premise is that knowledge and individual improvement will be helpful to every man.

The "King James Version" of the Bible is printed for general consumption. This version allows a wide section of lay persons to read the teachings of the work for themselves for the first time.

Thomas Helwys presents "A Short Declaration on the Mystery of Iniquity" to King James. The book has as it's topic Religious Liberty. Helwys is put to death.

Elisabeth, daughter of James 1 marries Frederick V (a protestant), Elector of the Palantinate in Heidelberg. (Feb. 14th)

Fama Fraternitatis, the first of two Rosicrucian manifestos, appears in printed form. The brotherhood declares it is a universal organization that values truth, education and the proponent of change for the betterment of man. It has been considered that the model for this new enlightened kingdom was that of Frederick V, Elector Palantine of the Rhine who was married to Elizabeth the daughter of King James 1 of England

Confessio Fraternitatis, the second of the two Rosicrucian manifestos appears in print.

Frederick V accepts the crown and becomes King of Bohemia.

Frederick V's protestant forces are defeated by the catholic forces of the Holy Roman Emperor at the Battle of White Mountain (Nov. 8) 

Elias Ashmole becomes first documented man to join a "speculative" Masonic lodge. (England)

Royal Society is founded in England. First and oldest learning society in England. Many members are the rising stars in science and the liberal arts.

John Locke publishes "Two Treatises on Government" the books views on the role of government and the rights of citizens goes on to be a major influence on the men shaping the upcoming American Revolution.

Freemasonry reveals itself to the world with the announcement of a "Premier Grand Lodge" in London. Since this organization does not include all Masonic lodges in England (or Scotland and Ireland for that matter) there is an ongoing controversy over who is the "oldest" Masonic organization operating in the British Isles.

Deputation granted by Grand Lodge of England to constitute a lodge in Madrid Spain. (see Mackey's Encyclopedia for entire history of events)

Francisco de Miranda is born in Caracas.

Thomas Dunkerley delivers his talk "The Light and Truth of Freemasonry Explained" considered a position paper on Masonic landmark beliefs.

Council of Emperors of the East and West is formed in Paris, France. This Council organized the "Rite of Perfection" the forerunner of the Scottish Rite. (see Mackey's Encyclopedia for complete history)

Thomas Paine meets Ben Franklin in England. (June) Franklin convinces Paine to emigrate to the American colonies. Paine arrives in Philadelphia (Nov. 30)

Outbreak of hostilities leading into American Revolution

Thomas Paine publishes "Common Sense" and argues for a complete break from the British Crown. (Jan 10). American Congress Ratifies "Declaration of Independence" (July 4)

Gotthold Lessing publishes the play "the Masonic Dialogues" or "Ernst and Falk."

Miranda, now appointed aide to the Spanish General Juan Manuel de Cagigal , participates in operations against British forces in Pensacola. FL.

American Revolution Ends. Colonists, with the help of their allies France and Spain, successful in defeating British. Miranda now a lieutenant colonel meets George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Paine

Simon Bolivar is born in Caracas. July 24

Miranda begins his Grand Tour of Europe. he markets himself as a noble and a revolutionary for the cause of South American Independence. (ends 1789)

French Revolution begins.

Miranda founds "La Gran Reunion Society" Present and future members to include most of the notables in South America's coming revolutions. It is considered by some Masonic scholars to be run as an irregular lodge. (see Mejia's paper)

Thomas Paine publishes "Rights of Man" in support of the French Revolution

His Grand Tour at an end, Miranda joins the French Revolutionary Army. Eventually promoted to General.

Simon Bolivar arrives in Spain for the first time.

Simon Bolivar visits France.

Bolivar, recently widowed, makes his second trip to Spain and tours parts of Europe, specifically Paris.

Napoleon is crowned Emperor in Paris. Bolivar becomes a Freemason in Cadiz, Spain.

While in Rome, Bolivar swears to liberate South America from Foreign Rule.(Aug. 15)

Miranda's expedition, Leander leaves from New York for Venezuela. It is not successful.

Bolivar lands in Charleston, South Carolina. He eventually makes his way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and leaves for Venezuela from there.

Joseph Bonaparte made King of Spain. Revolt breaks out in the Spanish held territories in Central and South America

In Upper Peru a group of students and professors stage an uprising against the authority of the Seville junta, not the French occupation. They specifically state their allegiance is to the King not to the government of Spain.

Venezuelan revolutionaries depose the Spanish government and establishes an independent junta. Don Juan Vincent Bolivar (brother of Simon) arrives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to see Stephen Girard, one of the wealthiest merchants in America. on the subject of purchasing arms for the revolutionary government in Venezuela. Simon Bolivar arrives in London as emissary to the revolutionary government, meets Miranda

Stephen Girard writes to James Monroe, Secretary of State to advocate for military and financial aid for the Venezuelan revolutionaries. Monroe does not return the message. Venezuela declares independence from Spain. Bolivar begins his campaign in Valencia.



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Kaulback, Michael S.  The First Knights Templar in the United States  Transactions of Quator Coronati Lodge #2076 Vol. 107 (pp224-227)  Butler & Tanner Ltd.  UK 1995


Lessing, Gotthold.  The Masonic Dialogues  Masonic Book Club Bloomington, ILL 1991


Mackey, Albert G.  Encyclopedia of Freemasonry  Masonic History Co.       Chicago, USA 1921


McMaster, John B.   The life and Times of Stephen Girard:  Mariner and Merchant.  (Vol. 2)   J.B. Lippincott Co Philadelphia, PA 1918


Michanek, Goran.  Scandinavian Freemasonry, Ten Kings in an unbroken line.  Transactions of Quator Coronati Lodge #2076  Vol. 107 (pp. 260-261) Butler & Tanner Ltd.  UK 1995


Miller, John C.  Origins of the American Revolution.  Little, Brown and Co. Boston, MA 1943


Newton, Joseph F.  The Builders.  Macoy Publishing NYC, USA 1945 


Newton, Joseph F.  The Religion of Freemasonry.  (Reprint) Kesinger Publishing CO. USA.  2006


Roberts, Allen E.  The Craft and It’s Symbols.  Macoy Publishing Co. Richmond 1974


Robinson, John J.  Born in Blood:  The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry  M. Evans & Co. New York, USA  1989


Tudhope, George V.  Bacon Masonry


Waite, Arthur Edward.   Some Deeper Aspects of Masonic Symbolism.   (Reprint)  Templar Books  Canada 1999



FROM WEBSITES (links are current as of this writing, topics are listed first)


Committees on Correspondence  :  Wikipedia, 


History of Grand Lodge of Spain:  Gl of Spain Website,


Maitland/Vasinttart Plan, The:  (Hector R. Fuster) , British Empire: The Map Room,


Masonic Concept of Liberty, The :  (W. Alex Davidson), PS Review of Freemasonry,


Simon Bolivar, Family Members of :  (Manuel Perez Vila)


Simon Bolivar, Masonic Officers of:  (Elmer E. Rogers, 33) Originally printed in The NEW AGE, 1948


Simon Bolivar, Masonic Raising in Spain:  Newday Historical Digest , June 24, 2001


Hermetic Symbolism in a Masonic Engraving:  The Alchemy Page, Winter 1987, McLean, Adam

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